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Morrison & Foerster Makes Big Boston Debut, Adds 23 New Commercial Finance Attorneys

February 05, 2019, 08:00 AM
Filed Under: New Office

On the heels of a Super Bowl win by the New England Patriots, law firm Morrison & Foerster made its own mark on the City of Boston, with the opening of a new office to further extend its market-leading technology and life sciences capabilities. The move also expands the firm’s premier Finance and Emerging Companies and Venture Capital (ECVC) practices. Additionally, the new office will strengthen existing transactional, private equity, real estate, and intellectual property (IP) practices.

Morrison & Foerster’s initial expansion includes adding a group of 23 finance attorneys from a Boston headquartered boutique finance firm. That team brings a leading commercial lending practice focused on the technology and life sciences sectors, and subscription lending. It includes eight partners: David Ephraim who also becomes the Office Managing Partner; Charles (Chuck) Stavros; Beth Tunstall; David Givner; Joseph O’Donnell; Jonathan Jacobs(joining in New York); Alexander Rheaume; and Gregory Bilton.

Ori Solomon, a leading ECVC lawyer, has also joined the firm’s Boston office as a partner and Co-Chair of the ECVC practice. Solomon primarily serves clients operating and investing in the life sciences and technology sectors that are located in Boston, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area. He was previously at Proskauer Rose, where he was hiring partner for the Boston office.

“We are a premier global firm that leads on market-shaping technology and life sciences matters and offers innovative solutions to our clients. It is a natural extension and synergy for us to open an office in Boston, a city known as a hub for innovation and technology and the epicenter for life sciences on the East Coast,” said Morrison & Foerster chair Larren Nashelsky. “We are committed to growing aggressively to meet the needs of our clients. Establishing a significant presence in Boston further builds on our momentum following our two most successful years ever, which included continuing to work on complex, headline-grabbing matters for clients such as Softbank and Novartis.”

The new office complements Morrison & Foerster’s strong presence in other markets in the U.S., such as the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, the Washington, D.C. region, and Southern California. Establishing an office in Boston further enhances the firm’s global platform as well, which includes five offices in Asia and three offices in Europe. It also provides an opportunity to the many life sciences and technology companies located in the Boston area to access Morrison & Foerster’s outstanding global life sciences and technology offerings.

Morrison & Foerster’s 29,000 square foot office located at 200 Clarendon Street (the “Hancock Tower”) in the Back Bay area of Boston, is now home to more than 30 lawyers, with room for significant future growth. In addition to the attorneys who have just joined Morrison & Foerster, the new office houses several of the firm’s existing lawyers who have been regularly working in the Boston area, including Privacy + Data Security partner Julie O’Neill, a Real Estate team led by partner Thomas McGovern and Of Counsel Guy McPherson, Business Restructuring + Insolvency Group partner Dennis Jenkins, and State + Local Tax Of Counsel Philip Olsen. Also joining the Boston office is Mike Ward, long-time partner in Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office. Dr. Ward has chaired the firm’s Patent Group and has co-chaired the IP Practice since 2008, and is the foremost figure in the field of plant IP and agricultural biotechnology.

Addition of a premier 23 person finance group

The group of eight finance partners and 15 of counsel and associates, led by Ephraim and Stavros, join the firm’s preeminent Finance Department. The team represents lenders in the technology and life sciences sectors, as well as subscription lenders, in the structuring of all types of secured and unsecured facilities, including asset-based facilities, fund finance, leveraged lending (including sponsor-backed leveraged buy-outs), venture debt, mezzanine financing, second lien lending, acquisition financing, syndications, receivables financing, and loan restructurings and workouts — which cover a substantial number of cross-border financing transactions.

“The finance group joining us in Boston is a highly regarded team that has worked together for many years,” said Gary Lee, co-chair of the firm’s Finance Department. “Their finance practice complements the firm’s strengths and gives MoFo an immediate and significant presence in Boston.”

Ephraim, who is nationally recognized in secured lending in the areas of technology, life sciences, venture capital, private equity, and fund finance, added: “We look forward to leveraging Morrison & Foerster’s broad U.S. and global platform to further support and grow our practice. We are also excited to help the firm build a substantial presence in Boston and to work with many of the firm’s clients on their financial transactions and strategies.”

The eight partners joining Morrison & Foerster bring the following practices: 

David Ephraim represents clients on all aspects of secured lending, including asset-based financing, fund finance, venture debt, second lien financing, mezzanine financing, receivables financing, acquisition financing, syndications, loan restructurings, and workouts, and a substantial part of his practice involves cross-border financing transactions.

Chuck Stavros represents numerous financial institutions, debt funds and multi-lender syndicates in structuring, restructuring and documenting complex domestic and cross-border financing transactions. Mr. Stavros advises clients on all aspects of secured and unsecured lending, including cash flow finance, asset-based finance and sponsor-backed leveraged buy-outs.

Beth Tunstall represents banks and other financial institutions on all aspects of secured lending, including venture debt, asset-based financing, second lien financing, mezzanine financing, acquisition finance, and international financing transactions. A substantial part of Ms. Tunstall’s practice involves representing commercial lenders in both single-lender and multi-lender transactions with regional, national, and international companies engaged in the areas of life sciences and technology.

David Givner represents banks, other institutional lenders, venture debt funds, and other mezzanine funds in single-lender and multi-lender financing arrangements with domestic and international companies in the areas of hardware, software, technology, fintech, life sciences, entertainment, cleantech, and renewable energy. He advises on financing arrangements that include all aspects of secured and unsecured lending, including asset-based financing, SaaS financing, fintech, second lien financing, mezzanine financing, participation arrangements, syndications, intercreditor agreements, subordination agreements, receivables purchase facilities, acquisition financing, loan restructurings, and workouts.

Joseph O’Donnell III represents banks and other financial institutions in single-lender and multi-lender financing transactions with foreign and domestic private equity and venture capital funds. He also represents lenders in asset-based, second lien, and mezzanine lending transactions to foreign and domestic life sciences and technology companies.

Jonathan Jacobs represents traditional and alternative lenders and agents in structuring, negotiating, and documenting domestic and cross-border loan arrangements, out-of-court restructurings, debtor-in-possession financings, and other credit arrangements. His experience includes cash flow finance, asset-based finance, and acquisition finance (including sponsor-backed leveraged buy-outs). Mr. Jacobs also counsels borrowers, including portfolio companies of private equity firms, in connection with their acquisition, working capital, and other credit facilities. Mr. Jacobs will join the firm in the New York office.

Alexander Rheaume’s practice focuses on the enforcement of creditors’ rights under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code and the Bankruptcy Code. His work with lenders regularly involves negotiating and documenting restructured financing arrangements, modification agreements, and forbearance agreements. He also represents banks and other financial institutions in asset-based financings, as well as international financing and transactions.

Gregory Bilton’s practice is focused on representing lenders in a broad range of commercial financing transactions. He has advised on matters involving secured and unsecured debt, single-lender and syndicated transactions, term and revolving credit facilities, asset-based debt financings, and cash-flow transactions.

Addition of a leading ECVC partner

Ori Solomon brings more than 20 years of experience to Morrison & Foerster’s thriving ECVC practice, adding significant depth and breadth to its East Coast presence and establishing an important capability for the firm in Boston. Mr. Solomon represents venture capital funds in a wide range of transactions, including investments in portfolio companies and secondary direct transactions. Mr. Solomon also acts as a legal and business advisor to public and private emerging growth companies in corporate governance matters and a wide range of transactions, including private placements, public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, strategic collaborations, and commercial transactions. His clients primarily invest or operate in the life sciences industry and he also represents fintech and other technology companies and investors.

“Morrison & Foerster’s premier technology and life sciences platform, the cornerstone of which is an industry leading intellectual property practice, as well as its market-leading presence in the San Francisco Bay Area, provides an ideal complement for clients and my practice,” said Mr. Solomon. “I am delighted to join MoFo’s growing ECVC practice and to further expand the firm’s offerings in Boston and the Northeast.”

Eric McCrath, co-chair of the firm’s Corporate Department, added: “A presence in Boston allows the firm to tap into one of the most talent rich cities in the world and expand our work in the life sciences sector. Ori is a dynamic example of that strategy in action. We are thrilled to have him join our ECVC practice in a leadership capacity and expect our clients to greatly benefit from his joining us.”

Morrison & Foerster’s ECVC practice works with more than 1,000 emerging companies and their investors and has handled hundreds of mergers and acquisitions over the last five years with an aggregate transactional value in excess of $600 billion.


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